Here at Smiley Law Firm, we see certain scenarios time and time again.
In the world of personal injury claims there are two types of clients:
1) those who are looking for any chance to get into an accident so they can collect from the insurance company
2) those who suffered an injury and would not make a claim against the insurance company because they feel it is wrong or they have not suffered the type of injury that would make for a good claim.
The second type of person is the focus of this post.
The person in I am speaking to with this post is the type that meets any number of the following characteristics:
• They’ve never made an insurance claim before or never made an injury claim before;
• They are not sure if they have a claim;
• They have private health insurance, not Medicare or Medicaid;
• They think their insurance premium will go up if they make a claim;
• They are not sure if they have a case;
• They were in an accident, treated with their normal doctors, and now feel better – so they do not think they are entitled to compensation;
• They don’t want to be attached to the stigma of hiring an “injury” attorney like they see on the TV and billboard ads;
If you meet any of these characteristics, then this post is for you!
Usually, these people are the type that “don’t need the money” or do not want to deal with the annoyance of filing an insurance claim which may later end up in a lawsuit. This person does not want to sue the person who was at fault in the auto accident or negligently caused them pain and suffering.
There are a number of problems with the line of thinking listed out above. This is exactly what the insurance companies want you to think! Insurance companies perpetuate a myth that making claims are bad, that you are not entitled to compensation for your injuries, and that personal injury attorneys are bad.
Here at Smiley Law Firm, we help clients get over these fears daily. Many come in to our offices thinking the same way on day one, then after the injury case has resolved they wonder why they did not act sooner.
You can act now by scheduling a consultation with Smiley Law Firm today.
Just because your medical insurance paid for the medical bills to get you well again, does not mean that you [and your medical insurer] are not entitled to be repaid. Further, you can be repaid additionally for pain and suffering.
I get it, hiring a personal injury attorney is not fun. This is not something you will run out and tell all of your friends. However, I know you will run out and tell your friends when you get a substantial settlement check. I know this because I see it all the time!
Spoiler alert: we are not miracle workers. If you don’t have a claim we will let you know as soon as humanly possible so that we do not waste your time [or ours!].
To further the problem, most of the people who have these claims simply do not understand the legal process for making insurance claims. This is normal and completely understandable. Before I became a lawyer, I felt the same way. I was raised to not be seen as greedy or out to make a quick buck.
This mindset is just what big insurance companies want us to think. The legal process is set up to help people like us. The legal process is set up so we can fight against big business. Insurance is not only big business, it is a HUGE business.
I see it all the time, someone missed a payment on their premium, but have been paying this insurance company for years, boom, no coverage. Insurance companies are not our friends. The government mandates we get coverage, most of the time not enough coverage, then we are bullied into not making claims where we are legally entitled to be repaid for our expenses, time, pain and suffering. This is real.
Luckily, if you are still reading, you are in the right place. We are here to help guide our injury clients through this process. We make the process as painless as possible with very little interruption in our client’s daily lives.
We are easy to get in touch with, friendly, and genuinely care about our clients. We are a small firm so we can give that extra attention to each client that they deserve. You will always be treated with respect because without our clients we are nothing.
The process of making an injury claim is nothing new. We admittedly are not inventing anything however, I think the personal aspect of personal injury has been lost by many. We know our clients are going through tough times and do not want to be bothered by this uncomfortable situation longer than necessary.
We start by meeting with you in a consultation. This is where you learn about our team and law firm philosophy of handling legal matters. This is also where we learn about the facts of your case and compare the facts generally to the applicable law. I say the consultation is an interview by both sides to see if there is a fit.
From there, if the fit is right, you sign up with our firm and allow us to guide you through the legal insurance claim process.
1.) We start by gathering all of the pertinent information such as the police report, accident photos, your version of the facts, insurance information such as medical and auto insurance for all parties, and vehicle information. There may be more or less depending on the type of case.
2.) We formally make the insurance claim and send a letter of representation. After we are formally on board, you can leave all of the hard work to us;
3.) Over the course of the next few months, you will work with your doctors to make sure you get back as close as possible to 100% health;
4.) We gather your medical records and other factual records from the accident;
5.) We battle your insurance company to get you the compensation you deserve based on the law and quantum for your type of injury;
6.) If the insurance is not fair, then we are forced to file a lawsuit against the insurance company for the at-fault driver;
7.) Over the course of the lawsuit, which could take years, we battle for every dollar possible for your claim.
8.) Finally, the case either settles or ends at trial on the merits.
The list above is an illustration of the process and the actual process is infinitely more complicated. The point is that we are here to guide you through this complicated and cumbersome process.
None of this can happen if you don’t set up the consultation and hire your injury attorney.
There are a few outcomes that are typical of a personal injury auto accident claim. Most of the time the attorney can tell in the beginning whether the case will be successful. Successful means that the client will collect for their losses, pain, and suffering.
The outcomes can vary drastically from case to case.
Variables include the fault of the parties. If the adversary is 100% at fault, then its easy to determine the value of the case depending on the insurance and injuries. However, if there is a dispute of the fault, then the case value can drop dramatically.
The amount of the insurance policies are a key to the success of the claim. Any at fault party who has insurance adds to the value. If you are rear-ended then the person who hits you has coverage.
There is a huge problem here. The law in Louisiana only requires $15,000.00 as a minimum for insurance coverage. This amount is very low when it comes to accident injuries, medical bills, pain and suffering. This is why Uninsured and Under Insured motorist coverage (UM) is so important.
Insurance agents always try to find the lowest price for their clients, therefore one of the first things they pull from coverage to get the premium down is the UM is less common. ALWAYS ask for and purchase UM. This is essential.
If you purchase UM and someone negligently hits you and/or your family, then you will have coverage above that of their smaller policy. It’s the only way for you to protect your loved ones if something terrible happens.
We often have people come to our office and say the other party was at fault and there is a huge insurance policy. However, they are perfectly ok. There are no injuries. The reverse happens as well, we have horribly injured people come to our office and there is no insurance coverage. We can do very little to help in either instance.
Hurt people go to the doctor. It is that plain and simple.
Once hurt people go to the doctor, then they need to call a good injury lawyer to analyze the facts to the case to the law. From there we can generally make a determination as to whether there is a good case.
This is the classic example where a person says they got the car fixed, their medical insurance covered the bills so they don’t want to make a claim. This is exactly what the insurance company wants!
Insurance companies love people who do not make claims when they rightfully are entitled to compensation. The legislature has enacted laws making insurance companies follow up with claimants and potential claimants because they would otherwise let the claim expire.
We see it all the time, the insurance company gets richer and richer for every claim that is missed. They also create myths that claims are bad and people who file claims are just money hungry.
This mindset is flawed.
You have a contract with the insurance company, they need to pay when proper claims are made. They will fight to not pay you.
Could you imagine fighting to not pay your insurance premium? No way, they would cancel you right away.
Furthermore, most of the claims are against the at-fault parties insurance. You have no duty to them but they have a duty to pay you for your losses.
Don’t be the person who leaves large amounts of money in the pockets of the insurance company because of some improper moral thought. Your thoughts will surely change, as they do for all our clients, once they go through the process and collect what they are owed.
It is wonderful sight to see. I hope you click below to schedule an appointment to see if your claim is worth fighting for, you will be glad you did.
We help clients by saving them time, increasing the amount of money they get for a claim, and keep their reputation pristine. We do this by implementing the processes above and working with our clients to ensure the best outcome.